Yes Emily

Yes Emily, girls can ride motorcycles!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Heat Wave Has Broken - Mainly Because Of The Rain ...

Day 15 (and 14 due to technical difficulties) 3,946.3 km travelled to date and amazingly I have not gotten really wet. More talk, few pictures ... again.
July 14
I left Cheyenne, under somewhat dubious skies, heading west for Lyman after coffee with fellow camper and biker, Scott, from Virginia. "Virginia Scott" and I spent a bit of time comparing riding west stories and camping gear and I now have air mattress envy (a three inch air mattress that compresses to almost the size of my 1" mat ... gotta get me one of those.) Having grown accustomed to the heat I was wearing just the mesh layer of my jacket, which, within minutes on the road, I came to regret and stopped shortly to add the outer textile layer. The sky was cloudy and it was cool. The heat wave has broken. It seemed that I was battling headwinds for the entire ride so I pulled off  for a break and gas and to decide whether the rain layer might be a good bet since the sky was darkening with each kilometer. At the gas station I had the chance to chat with three more bikers, a rider from Colorado and a father and son duo from the east coast, travelling to Cody. The son, I've momentarily forget his name, (this is what happens when you don't take notes) is a blogger and professional photographer, and as soon as I find where I put his business card (in whichever, oh, oh I forgot to zip it up ziplock bag) I will let you know.  A few drops had touched my sunglasses while we were chatting so I decided to add the rain layer and headed on my way. Just as I had decided to remove the rain layer and was heading off the highway for a roadside gas bar the skies opened with a gusher. The downpour lasted about 30 seconds, I refueled and headed out again.

View from Campsite Road
I pulled into the Lyman campground to the sight of a familiar little Ford pick up truck sporting a homemade wooden camper, nestled up behind it, a two step set of homemade wooded stairs. Deja vu! The same (almost, this time including a Mississauga native) group of paleontologists were back again this year. (Really, the funny thing was that I was back again this year. They apparently spend every summer in Lyman). I joined them for an after dinner glass of wine, just in time for show and share paleontolgist's style. Show and share for paleontologists on a dig is a little more competitive than in kindergarten (in a fun way), as they each unwrap their days find hoping to out wow the other. These folks are looking for fossils of tiny mammals so the miniscule jaw with three teeth including a molar was a hit.
It sprinkled on and off and turned quite chilly overnight leaving me to pack a heavily, dew covered tent this morning.
Show and Share
July 15
I packed slowly knowing I had under 200km to travel to Salt Lake City. I checked the tire pressure and much to my surprise the front tire is now holding air (must have been a speck of dirt that was removed when I blasted it a few days ago.) I had 160 km logged on the tripometer. I can usually make it 240 km on a tank (one tiny flaw with the VStar is that it does not have a gas gauge ...) I was heading to Evanston, 46 km away, where I remembered there was a Wallymart (which I've come to call my bank of Canada) when I felt a familiar stutter, then I felt it again, OUT OF GAS. Luckily the VStar has a reserve tank, but even luckier, in the middle of nowhere, there it was; pointing like a beacon to the sky saying,  "The gas fairies are with you (even if the weather fairies and the techno fairies are travelling with somebody else)", was the sign for the 'Fork In The Road' truck stop,  1.60934 km (in American talk that's 1 mile) away. Just over $14 to fill it, dry as a bone. I stopped at Wallymart for some fruit and cash and headed toward a once again, ever darkening sky. Wyoming turned to Utah and the rolling ranches and brownscape that seemed to go for as far as the eye could see turned quickly to red, heaving mountains for as far as the eye could see (not that you can really see much further than the mountain that is directly in front of you, but from experience, I knew I was entering the land of mountains for as far as the eye could imagine).
25 miles out of Salt Lake City, the threatening sky unleashed. I knew I had to be close to the visitor welcome centre for Utah. I was planning on stopping for a nostalgic photo in front of the Utah sign, it (the photo) didn't happen. I rushed into the visitor centre along with two other bikers to stand and chat and wait for the storm to break. My Wallymart lunch was still strapped on the back of the bike and the tourist centre attendant loaned me an umbrella so I could make good use of the time while I waited for the storm to abate. I shared my apple and banana, cheese and carrots with the two other bikers and at the first break we all headed for the road once again. I rode into light rain coming down into Salt Lake City, just enough to dirty the bike, not enough to get me wet. I was surprised, setting up camp, at how dry the saddle bags had remained inside after sitting in the Utah monsoon for over an hour.
Hello from Salt Lake City. It's cool and comfortable and if the weather holds I may go exploring tomorrow - Oh, you'll never guess who was pulling into the campground just ahead of me, VW in tow. If you followed me last year you know, it was no other than Gab and Sandy from California. We crossed paths last year in Cheyenne and again in Nevada, we had dinner together. It was a big hug from both of them.


  1. As you may have noticed I haven't been using my lime green jacket. I thought it might be too complicated for my simple mind. Turns out I was right. I've rebuilt racing engines that were less complicated and had fewer parts than that jacket. I'll have to think about how best to utilize all those pieces. In the meantime, all I need is the mesh part. Still no rain and plenty of heat and humidity - oh wait, seven drops fell this afternoon.


  2. Ken (whoops, I mean Anonymous KM)the jacket is colour coordinated - zip the black to the black, the orange to the orange and so on ... really, should I colour you a picture? It's far less complicated than the old model, one layer basically fits inside the other. The rain has stopped here, there is no humidity and it's feeling rather lovely, if not getting to the chilly side. If it weren't for their height, I'd say the mountains are a lovely place to be. Drivers are, on the other hand, crazy and making walking a risk taking activity. Perhaps it's the thin mountain air or altitude that's effecting their judgement but while waiting to cross the street I counted no less than 5 drivers (most texting and/or on cell phones) pull ewies in the middle of what seems to be a major, four lane intersection. "And" ... she said, I saw one ad that said it took SLC 118 years to get a good beer, I wonder how long it will be til they get good technology (47 tries to connect to the internet, but that's a whole other blog post!)

  3. Karen:

    It was neat to run into all those familiar faces from last year. It's like meeting old friends. I finally started wearing my JR Alter Ego 11.0 ballistic jacket and I really like it. The mesh is great, but today I had to test the liner in heavy rain . . . it worked !

    Won't be long now. Only 3 more work days . . .

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Bob, your bunny comment on last post is, I swear, jinxed (I've tried multiple times to reply, with multiple technologies,in multiple places) - that's what happens when you threaten or possibly threaten to eat one of the cutest little things on earth.
      Three working days, means you must be leaving on Thursday??? Am assuming that the ankle is cooperating. Ride safe, see you soon.

  4. I am envying you, I would love to do a moto trip. I just have to figure out where I want to go. I am keeping it local this year. You sound like you are having a great time!

    1. Well Dar, for future planning - though the mountains are lovely keep in mind the East Coast has some extrodidnary sights as well. Just the same day trips from home are always nice and always end with a comfortable bed.

  5. I think it is great that you are running into people you've met before on the road. Was just your time to meet them again and the stars aligned it.

    And so nice of you to share your lunch with the other bikes dodging the storm. That has to be good for some great karma points, no more rain for a while.

    1. Trobairitz - that's exactly (more or less) what Gab and Sandy said - Karma!